E-commerce goes from strength to strength
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Online Sales grow despite sluggish economy

According to the Office for National Statistics, online sales grew by 13.7% in 2011, meaning online retailing now accounts for 12% of all retail sales (up from 8.6% in 2008) or £50.34 billion. This 2011 figure represents a growth of 16% over the year before, although the growth for 2011 - 2012 is thought to slow to 13% according to the IMRG Retail Sales Index. The strongest performing sectors in 2011 appeared to be clothing, health and beauty, alcohol and home and garden, with electrical gifts and travel fairing less well.

Even with a slow down IMRG expect online sales in 2012 to reach £77 billion by the end of the year with £4.6 billion of that occurring during the peak Christmas shopping weeks in early December. James Roper, CEO at IMRG stated "With the on-going global economic downturn and the UK slipping back into recession in 2012, it can be difficult to find genuine signs of positive growth in business but the e-retail market continues to deliver it".

You've got to be in it to win it

The main losers in this realtively cheery outlook for online retailers are the bricks and mortar stores who have yet to make the move to selling online. According to the Centre for Retail Research's predictions for 2013: "The 0.9% increase in real sales will mainly go to online sellers and multi-channel e-commerce retailers. Sales through bricks and mortar stores will continue to fall on average". It may be a little late to take the plunge in time for Christmas 2012, but what is certain is that retailers who do not either start online selling in 2012 or begin to seriously optimise their ecommerce efforts will be the ones to pay the price for the overall success of online retail.

 

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